Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) Monday said that it is unfortunate that health officials of the valley are misleading people by issuing incorrect information regarding H1N1 vaccination.
President DAK and H1N1 expert Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan said that vaccination is the single best tool to protect people from contracting H1N1. “According to National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, current H1N1 strain did not show any mutation and it is the same as 2009 H1N1 strain,” he said. “The current vaccine is closely matching the circulating H1N1 strain in the community and is highly effective.”
NIV Pune, Dr Hassan said, has rejected the commentary by Massachusetts Institute of Technology of United States that had suggested that H1N1 virus in India might have changed.
“Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that even if the virus has changed vaccine can still protect people and prevent flu related complications because of cross protection,” he said. “The statement of Director SKIMS that current vaccine is ineffective is factually incorrect and misleading.”
These health officials, he said, have vaccinated their children and left others unimmunized and defenseless which is outrageous. “The health officials by questioning the effectiveness of vaccine have hampered vaccination drive thus risking human lives.”
On one hand, he said, health officials say vaccines are ineffective, on the other hand they procure vaccines and give it to their kith and kin. “More than 7000 vaccines have been acquired by GMC Srinagar but as per Medical Superintendent SMHS no vaccines were supplied to the hospital. Where have the vaccines gone?”
“Health officials have failed to protect people from dying due to H1N1 and by issuing irresponsible statements are further endangering human lives,” he said. “We have seen in past outbreaks when it seemed worst is over flu activity increase abruptly because of unpredictability of virus and vaccination is the only defense.”
Dr Hassan said people ideally should get vaccinated before flu season begins but vaccination is recommended as long as virus is circulating in the community. DAK urged people who have not been vaccinated to get vaccine now.